Understanding Spinal Injuries Due to Whiplash

Whiplash. The term itself sounds painful, and it can result in far worse than just a sore neck or upper back. Whiplash occurs when sudden force thrusts your head back and then forward again, potentially causing spinal injuries. This injury often happens in car accidents and many times goes unnoticed for hours or even days.

In more severe cases, whiplash can injure bones in your spine, the disks between bones, and nerves and muscles in your neck. To fully understand this affliction, we can review major components, causes, and treatment.

The Spine Explained

Most of us understand that our spines are made of a long chain of flexible and exceedingly efficient bones complemented with muscles, discs, and ligaments that make it all work. The spine stretches from the base of your skull to the top of your tailbone, with the majority of support provided by bones known as vertebrae.

Between the vertebrae are discs, which work in tune with joints that let us bend forward and backward and rotate, but not too far. This entire system is wired with nerves and when any one of them is injured or fails, it typically leads to pain.

The “Other” Spine

We also have what is called the cervical spine near our necks. This provides support to our heads, protects the spinal cord and its related nerves, and also allows the neck to move freely.

neck pain, spinal injuries

Why Does My Neck Hurt?

It is very difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of neck pain but it is often related to whiplash injury and the ensuing strained and inflamed muscles and ligaments. This typically heals in a month or two but lingering pain could be originating from spinal cord joints, known as facets.

Chronic neck pain can also be the result of an injured disc, which are often torn in a whiplash event. If this does not heal on its own, a common diagnosis is a herniated disk that leads to arm pain as well as neck.  

Headaches, low back pain, trouble concentrating, and disturbed sleep are all symptoms of possible spinal cord injuries and should be immediately addressed. Treatment options typically include strength training and introducing new lifestyle habits that benefit the injured area and subsequently improve posture to help prevent future injury.

The best approach is to be proactive. Don’t wait to seek treatment. Contact the expert staff at Veeva Chiropractic to discuss treatment options. Call us today at (503) 782-6108.